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Laws, Yesterday’s Future

The tribute mixtape can be a dicey proposition. Most attempts suffer from a clear ignorance of their subject’s work and weak production. Yesterday’s Future, though—Laws’ dedication to Paul McCartney—does it right.

The effort is produced entirely by the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League and Feb 9, lending it a cohesion most mixtapes lack. The production is masterful, hitting everything from upbeat piano on “Say Say Say” to the grooving organs of “Fly,” without obvious sample choices. The Florida rapper’s agile flow and light voice adapt well to the diverse production. Clever skits manipulate Sir Paul’s interviews and studio chatter to create the illusion of the Beatle and Laws collaborating. “Knocking at the Door” retells Laws’ travails in the music industry, while our host later preaches motivation and belief in self on “Rinse,” over thunderous organ and electric guitar. “Must Be Wrong” is basically a duet: Laws kicks it double-time over pounding piano and guitar peals while McCartney’s sampled voice compliments his punch lines. The centerpiece of the project is a three-part suite take on Sir Paul’s “Mr. Bellamy,” which brings the listener through Laws’ come-up, successes and the road to this tape, done over three vastly different beats.

Future has a few snoozers, but applaud Laws for his ambition and execution. There’s enough bangers here to give Paul McCartney the screwface. —Aaron Matthews

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